Tuesday, May 10, 2011

CSF Op-Ed: Media I Am

How blogs, tweets, and social media are changing science writing.

Back in the dark ages, books were a luxury for the ultra-rich. When everything had to be copied by hand, written documents were rare, and therefore expensive. Then the printing press came along. Later, the paperback. Books became cheaper, easier to produce.

Once, writing in a public forum was a privilege. You needed permission, an editor’s stamp of approval, to publish anything from a news story to an op-ed piece. Today, anyone can have a platform. Putting your thoughts out into the public realm is becoming a basic right. Now, if only ideas could become cheaper, or easier to produce.

Everything’s changed, and yet nothing has changed.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cambridge Carnival Day

Even in the midst of a thunderstorm, Saturday’s Science Carnival was spectacular.

With rows of booths and activities as far as the eye could see, the space surrounding the Cambridge Public Library was busy with experiments and energy. There was music, swing dancing, balloons and several tiny children wandering around fully clad in the Pfizer booth’s lab coats, goggles and plastic gloves.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Night of Nerdery

Cambridge got a little nerdier on Friday night. 

At “Nerdnite Presents Nerdtacular!” a group of self-identified geeks gathered at the MIT Museum for some socializing and a trio of interesting lectures. Over cheap beer and cheese puffs, we alternately chatted and paid attention to the three guest speakers whose topics were perfectly suited to their largely awkward-intellectual grad student audience.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Probing life and learning

On Friday evening, a large crowd gathered at The Laboratory at Harvard for an exercise in fast-paced, big-time brilliance. At Big Ideas for Busy People, ten scientists each had the floor for five minutes to discuss their work’s significance. Five more minutes for questions followed each presentation, while a prominent countdown clock marshaled the time.

The ideas introduced by this group of Harvard and MIT researchers spanned topics as varied as multiverses and optigenetics. These engaging speakers dipped into the origins of life, the roadblocks of rote learning and the reason why we might be able to call our era the most peaceful of the human species’ existence.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Standing Up For Science

Last Tuesday, Sense about Science hosted a great discussion about the interactions between scientists and journalists.  Here are 10 tips for young scientists, based on the panel's wisdom.

Leonor Sierra, Sense About Science
Karen Weintraub, freelance health and science journalist
Dr Chris Reddy, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Morgan Thompson, Science in the News
B.D. Colen, Senior Communications Officer for University Science, Harvard University